The power of a good demo

People have been talking about Microsoft’s “Mojave Experiment” all day. What did they do? They demoed a “future operating system” to end users, got their feedback, usually positive, and then told them it was actually Windows Vista.

This is the first marketing in some time that made me think Microsoft’s marketing department had a clue about how to deal with its perception problem. Amazing to me that it took so long.

But when I see other Microsoft advertising, why isn’t it aspirational? Why doesn’t it just SHOW something cool you can do with Vista? Or with any of its other products?

Oh, by the way, I’m using Windows Vista to type this to you. My wife and I have been having this argument about Windows. I’ve been having her use a Lenovo X300 laptop that’s really sexy. But she keeps asking for her Mac back. Why? She says it feels better and is nicer to use (when we left Podtech she had to return her Mac). My son isn’t helping, either. He makes fun of us for using non-Mac machines. He even was arguing with HP’s head of marketing last week about how much better Apple’s machines are.

What I’d love to see is a head-to-head competition. Take both home for a week. Which one do you return?

Anyway, all this reminds me of is the power of a good demo. Actually, this is what I have loved about Apple’s stores whenever I go in: they are usually demoing what their machines can do. Walk in and they show you how to do all sorts of stuff from podcasting to digital photography. At the San Francisco store you can sit there and take tons of classes for free and they are usually pretty good and aimed at non-passionate users who are trying to do something specific with their machines.

Question: have you seen a Microsoft advertisment lately where Microsoft talks about what their machines can do? Have you seen an advertisment that shows you their WorldWide Telescope, for instance (that is still my favorite demo of 2008)? Or Microsoft’s Deep Zoom? Or Microsoft’s Surface? Or Microsoft Photosynth (my favorite demo of 2006)?

These are all wonderful technologies that demo very well, but if Microsoft is able to find so many people who’ve just heard that Vista is crappy, but who haven’t actually seen it for themselves (that’s what the Mojave Project was really all about), imagine how many people who think that Microsoft isn’t an innovative company who haven’t seen any of Microsoft’s very real innovations?

Personally, whoever buys and makes Microsoft’s advertising should be, well, let’s just say “Starbucked” since they laid off about 900 people today. It’s amazingly bad and it doesn’t have to be.

Hopefully that’s what they are really learning by doing these little “gotcha” experiments.

Comments

  1. why people prefer to use Mac computers to PCs?

    I will use a parable: Coca Cola is software. Container is hardware.

    So in my view Coca Cola tastes much more if I drink it from a bottle made of glass, and is not so tasty if I drink it from a container made of plastic or metal (can).

    Mac computers simply made software more tasty… and that’s why people prefer to use them. Steve Jobs knows what he is doing when he pays meticulous attention to hardware design.

  2. why people prefer to use Mac computers to PCs?

    I will use a parable: Coca Cola is software. Container is hardware.

    So in my view Coca Cola tastes much more if I drink it from a bottle made of glass, and is not so tasty if I drink it from a container made of plastic or metal (can).

    Mac computers simply made software more tasty… and that’s why people prefer to use them. Steve Jobs knows what he is doing when he pays meticulous attention to hardware design.

  3. Some true points here, but from experience I find that Apple have an edge with their approach because the hardware and software are so symbiotic. When I took my sister shopping for a laptop, after a day of checking out both PC’s and Mac’s the biggest selling point was that in the Apple Store she saw it all work as one machine. My biggest headache was trying to explain to her the interminable PC hardware combinations and what she could and couldn’t do. How can Microsoft sell their technology distinct from the hardware it will run on as successfully as Apple currently do?

  4. Some true points here, but from experience I find that Apple have an edge with their approach because the hardware and software are so symbiotic. When I took my sister shopping for a laptop, after a day of checking out both PC’s and Mac’s the biggest selling point was that in the Apple Store she saw it all work as one machine. My biggest headache was trying to explain to her the interminable PC hardware combinations and what she could and couldn’t do. How can Microsoft sell their technology distinct from the hardware it will run on as successfully as Apple currently do?

  5. This clearly goes to show that the perception is reality. Potential Vista users probably shy away because Vista has gained a reputation of being a resource hog. Many PC’s in the market offer degraded user experience and resulting in Vista gaining the “slow” reputation.

    I am guessing that in the “future operating system” demo the users didn’t had to “Find a Vista driver”. Slow Vista experience and availability of drivers, drive users away from Vista.

    “Vista is a rich OS” and that remains a fact.

  6. This clearly goes to show that the perception is reality. Potential Vista users probably shy away because Vista has gained a reputation of being a resource hog. Many PC’s in the market offer degraded user experience and resulting in Vista gaining the “slow” reputation.

    I am guessing that in the “future operating system” demo the users didn’t had to “Find a Vista driver”. Slow Vista experience and availability of drivers, drive users away from Vista.

    “Vista is a rich OS” and that remains a fact.

  7. Is there a major tech product that has a worse marketing track record over, say, the past two years than Windows client? How many other companies could do such a lousy job promoting a flagship product for so long and still remain financially healthy? In some bizarre sense, it’s a testament to the strength of Microsoft (or, at least, a statement about how entrenched in the market Windows is).

    If I were Steve Balmer, I’d think about buying McCann Worldwide (the ad firm for Vista) just so I could fire everyone there.

  8. Is there a major tech product that has a worse marketing track record over, say, the past two years than Windows client? How many other companies could do such a lousy job promoting a flagship product for so long and still remain financially healthy? In some bizarre sense, it’s a testament to the strength of Microsoft (or, at least, a statement about how entrenched in the market Windows is).

    If I were Steve Balmer, I’d think about buying McCann Worldwide (the ad firm for Vista) just so I could fire everyone there.

  9. HP’s head of marketing? Doncha think he’d LOVE to license OSX? That’s a pointless argument, your son should be screaming at Jobs to provide a spec basis for clones. Yelling at people, who agree, yet are powerless to do anything about it? I guess he takes after his father.

    And for the 10,000th time, Microsoft is not a consumer company, as such, any advertisements in that space, are essentially a waste. They make money on Enterprise and OEM sales, everything they have attempted in the consumer market has been a massive failure, with even perceived successes being bankrolled in the millions to billions. Apple is a consumer company, form over function, eye candy, extreme secrecy, cult creation and cutesy advertisements are vital to their existence. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

  10. HP’s head of marketing? Doncha think he’d LOVE to license OSX? That’s a pointless argument, your son should be screaming at Jobs to provide a spec basis for clones. Yelling at people, who agree, yet are powerless to do anything about it? I guess he takes after his father.

    And for the 10,000th time, Microsoft is not a consumer company, as such, any advertisements in that space, are essentially a waste. They make money on Enterprise and OEM sales, everything they have attempted in the consumer market has been a massive failure, with even perceived successes being bankrolled in the millions to billions. Apple is a consumer company, form over function, eye candy, extreme secrecy, cult creation and cutesy advertisements are vital to their existence. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

  11. I have to say it’s a well-executed campaign that will have the desired effect of making people rethink their assumptions about Vista. Whether that’s worth doing at the price of a campaign whose implicit message is Our Users Are Pathetic Sheep, I have no idea.

    I’m also not entirely sure that it’s a fair test. They make fun of the “well, if this is Vista, how come it’s so fast” guy, but it’s a fair question… and I presume the answer is “because it’s a fresh install on a nice piece of kit.” I can’t help but wonder whether the woman who wants to bring it home because it’s “so fast” also has a >2ghz core 2 duo processor and 2gb of ram.

  12. I have to say it’s a well-executed campaign that will have the desired effect of making people rethink their assumptions about Vista. Whether that’s worth doing at the price of a campaign whose implicit message is Our Users Are Pathetic Sheep, I have no idea.

    I’m also not entirely sure that it’s a fair test. They make fun of the “well, if this is Vista, how come it’s so fast” guy, but it’s a fair question… and I presume the answer is “because it’s a fresh install on a nice piece of kit.” I can’t help but wonder whether the woman who wants to bring it home because it’s “so fast” also has a >2ghz core 2 duo processor and 2gb of ram.

  13. @Christopher: Specs for a OSX clone? Do you understand the unique proposition Apple is trying to make? Would you like a CD to install your vacuum cleaner?
    About Microsoft. When the majority of people uses Window this makes Microsoft a consumer company or? Do I care how they make money? If Roald Dahl made a lot of money on Wallstreet (he didn’t) he would still be a writer. Did you read CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY? Did you use Windows? Try using Microsoft Paint. Very corporate indeed ;-)

  14. @Christopher: Specs for a OSX clone? Do you understand the unique proposition Apple is trying to make? Would you like a CD to install your vacuum cleaner?
    About Microsoft. When the majority of people uses Window this makes Microsoft a consumer company or? Do I care how they make money? If Roald Dahl made a lot of money on Wallstreet (he didn’t) he would still be a writer. Did you read CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY? Did you use Windows? Try using Microsoft Paint. Very corporate indeed ;-)

  15. @Kevin: Perhaps we should link back a little further Kevin? Then we can understand the rational behind this bias. And then, after we find out what happened, it could be interesting to understand this negative placebo effect. Until then, the way people perceive Vista is right nor wrong. So for me, your judgment -”people are wrong”- is like a conclusion without a memory.

  16. @Kevin: Perhaps we should link back a little further Kevin? Then we can understand the rational behind this bias. And then, after we find out what happened, it could be interesting to understand this negative placebo effect. Until then, the way people perceive Vista is right nor wrong. So for me, your judgment -”people are wrong”- is like a conclusion without a memory.

  17. Love the anecdote, but think you missed the point of this entirely, Robert. We are emotional beings. We make decisions on almost everything – wives, jobs, cars, houses, toothpaste and yes, operating systems – based on how they make us feel. Microsoft may be able to cure people like your wife of their misperceptions related to Vista, but they are going to have an awfully hard time curing her of the troublesome humanity that lay behind her passionate preference for her Mac.

  18. Love the anecdote, but think you missed the point of this entirely, Robert. We are emotional beings. We make decisions on almost everything – wives, jobs, cars, houses, toothpaste and yes, operating systems – based on how they make us feel. Microsoft may be able to cure people like your wife of their misperceptions related to Vista, but they are going to have an awfully hard time curing her of the troublesome humanity that lay behind her passionate preference for her Mac.

  19. Microsoft must have realized that their advertising was uninspiring as well; They recently selected Cripsin, Porter and Bogusky as their new ad agency, even though CPB is not known for doing work on tech companies.

    (CPB did Burger King’s ad featuring the King character, the Coke Zero taste infringement ads)

    It was actually written about in Fast Company not too long ago.

    Hopefully they bring new life to Microsoft, and start changing some mainstream perceptions.

  20. Microsoft must have realized that their advertising was uninspiring as well; They recently selected Cripsin, Porter and Bogusky as their new ad agency, even though CPB is not known for doing work on tech companies.

    (CPB did Burger King’s ad featuring the King character, the Coke Zero taste infringement ads)

    It was actually written about in Fast Company not too long ago.

    Hopefully they bring new life to Microsoft, and start changing some mainstream perceptions.

  21. I think Microsoft is in a rut. Its a long time since I have heard anything truly innovative that works for the end user. Most of the time, its about heading further and further in the same direction and usually requiring more and more resources.

    In a world where efficiency and speed count, I have no clue how a software that requires twice the RAM as its previous version is progress, unless they are offering free hardware to cover the gap.

    Not that it doesn’t have some very fancy and much appreciated features, just that it kind of misses priorities on basic functionality being quick and painless.

    I experience Microsoft as more interested in glory and exotic functionality than effeciency across diverse resources.

  22. I think Microsoft is in a rut. Its a long time since I have heard anything truly innovative that works for the end user. Most of the time, its about heading further and further in the same direction and usually requiring more and more resources.

    In a world where efficiency and speed count, I have no clue how a software that requires twice the RAM as its previous version is progress, unless they are offering free hardware to cover the gap.

    Not that it doesn’t have some very fancy and much appreciated features, just that it kind of misses priorities on basic functionality being quick and painless.

    I experience Microsoft as more interested in glory and exotic functionality than effeciency across diverse resources.

  23. You’re kidding, right? This is not great marketing. This is crap, and it’s derivative crap at that. This is nothing more than a tired retread of the “taste test” switcheroo used by Folgers back in the early 80′s.

    For those of you too young to remember these commercials, Folgers took over a “4-star” restaurant and served the guests Folgers instant coffee instead of the restaurants regular coffee. And, not surprisingly, nobody guessed! And when they found out they had to admit that Folgers instant was just as good if not better than what the usually drank. Wow!

    Did this really make ANYONE believe that Folgers instant coffee was as good as freshly brewed coffee produced and served by industry professionals in fine restaurants?

    Say what you will about the quality and/or value of Apple products, but it must be acknowledged that their Brand management is a wonder to behold.

    There are so many things wrong with this Mojave marketing ploy that I hardly know where to begin. Suffice it to say that it completely misunderstands what effective marketing and Brand development even is.

    Successful companies provide superior services/products, and then build their Brand into something MORE than just those services/products by telling a story that’s bigger than that and getting their customers to accept that story and become willing participants in it.

    Microsoft has instead built an INFERIOR product (is there really any debate on this?), delivered it years late, and is now proceeding with a new “marketing” push whose main goal is to convince everyone that we’re all just WRONG, and that Vista is actually great. The only reason we don’t realize that Vista is great is because everyone keeps saying it isn’t. But if we would just ignore the nearly UNIVERSAL judgement that this product is not great and buy it, then we would realize that it is great.

    This is not marketing. This is second-rate Orwell.

  24. You’re kidding, right? This is not great marketing. This is crap, and it’s derivative crap at that. This is nothing more than a tired retread of the “taste test” switcheroo used by Folgers back in the early 80′s.

    For those of you too young to remember these commercials, Folgers took over a “4-star” restaurant and served the guests Folgers instant coffee instead of the restaurants regular coffee. And, not surprisingly, nobody guessed! And when they found out they had to admit that Folgers instant was just as good if not better than what the usually drank. Wow!

    Did this really make ANYONE believe that Folgers instant coffee was as good as freshly brewed coffee produced and served by industry professionals in fine restaurants?

    Say what you will about the quality and/or value of Apple products, but it must be acknowledged that their Brand management is a wonder to behold.

    There are so many things wrong with this Mojave marketing ploy that I hardly know where to begin. Suffice it to say that it completely misunderstands what effective marketing and Brand development even is.

    Successful companies provide superior services/products, and then build their Brand into something MORE than just those services/products by telling a story that’s bigger than that and getting their customers to accept that story and become willing participants in it.

    Microsoft has instead built an INFERIOR product (is there really any debate on this?), delivered it years late, and is now proceeding with a new “marketing” push whose main goal is to convince everyone that we’re all just WRONG, and that Vista is actually great. The only reason we don’t realize that Vista is great is because everyone keeps saying it isn’t. But if we would just ignore the nearly UNIVERSAL judgement that this product is not great and buy it, then we would realize that it is great.

    This is not marketing. This is second-rate Orwell.

  25. Leo LaPorte talked on TWIT about a month ago about how people who hadn’t tried Vista called him all the time to ask him what to do because they didn’t want to buy PCs that came with it. He said the same thing: many people who criticized it haven’t tried it. He also said MSFT has no real marketing.

  26. Leo LaPorte talked on TWIT about a month ago about how people who hadn’t tried Vista called him all the time to ask him what to do because they didn’t want to buy PCs that came with it. He said the same thing: many people who criticized it haven’t tried it. He also said MSFT has no real marketing.

  27. Microsoft now has to do its marketing by duping its customers? Reminds me of those Office commercials where they implied their existing users of older Office suites were dinosaurs.

    It’s amazing in how many areas Microsoft are losing. MP3 players, Xbox, web search, mobile phone OS etc. etc. It’ll be interesting to see if Ballmer can deliver on his promise to improve the end-to-end experience of Microsoft’s products by working more closely with hardware vendors.

  28. Microsoft now has to do its marketing by duping its customers? Reminds me of those Office commercials where they implied their existing users of older Office suites were dinosaurs.

    It’s amazing in how many areas Microsoft are losing. MP3 players, Xbox, web search, mobile phone OS etc. etc. It’ll be interesting to see if Ballmer can deliver on his promise to improve the end-to-end experience of Microsoft’s products by working more closely with hardware vendors.

  29. Here’s why Apple can demo cool stuff: they bundle cool apps with OS X. Microsoft doesn’t (can’t?) bundle any of the cool stuff you talk about with their OS. So there’s nothing cool to demo, really. Surface? You need a $10.000 coffe-table-size machine to demo that.

    Not that Windows Photo Gallery and Movie Maker, etc. aren’t useful. They’re just not cool, like iPhoto and iMovie.

    I’ve used a newer iMac for a movie editing project recently, and I’ve found that OS X can be just as slow to react and have similar glitches as Vista. Sometimes the iMac won’t wake from sleep. Sometimes you wonder why a click on something in the dock takes so long to have an effect. Sometimes parts of the graphics subsystem mess up and show certain color ranges as completely black. Only a restart will fix that.

    The laws of resource constraints apply to Macs and PCs equally, it seems.

    Perception management is the key, and Microsoft is finally waking up to that. The Mojave Experiment is an interesting first stab.

  30. Here’s why Apple can demo cool stuff: they bundle cool apps with OS X. Microsoft doesn’t (can’t?) bundle any of the cool stuff you talk about with their OS. So there’s nothing cool to demo, really. Surface? You need a $10.000 coffe-table-size machine to demo that.

    Not that Windows Photo Gallery and Movie Maker, etc. aren’t useful. They’re just not cool, like iPhoto and iMovie.

    I’ve used a newer iMac for a movie editing project recently, and I’ve found that OS X can be just as slow to react and have similar glitches as Vista. Sometimes the iMac won’t wake from sleep. Sometimes you wonder why a click on something in the dock takes so long to have an effect. Sometimes parts of the graphics subsystem mess up and show certain color ranges as completely black. Only a restart will fix that.

    The laws of resource constraints apply to Macs and PCs equally, it seems.

    Perception management is the key, and Microsoft is finally waking up to that. The Mojave Experiment is an interesting first stab.

  31. There’s a great story from the book Freakonomics which describes the results of a study on medical malpractice suits. Interestingly, the most important determining factor for whether a maltreated patient would take a malpractice claim to court seems to be the rapport the patient had with the doctor, the doctor’s bedside manner, essentially. People don’t bring suits against doctors they like, even if they were mistreated badly, whereas they bring suits against doctors they hate, even if they were not treated badly at all.

    In reality Microsoft treats its customers about as well if not better than most of its competitors, and produces quality products at reasonable prices. Yet because of the public perception of Microsoft as a company and because of the way MS tends to come off as aloof, arrogant, and overly concerned with money and competition, Microsoft receives a lot of bad treatment it does not deserve, the perception and sales of Vista being a prime example.

    Also, I’ll respond to Andrew above and say that it’s a bit ridiculous to claim that the Xbox is now “losing” in the console market. The Nintendo Wii is selling more units, certainly, but in many cases the Wii and the 360 are not in direct competition, and the 360 and 360 games are selling enormously well. Not everything has to be a race to 100% market dominance, it’s possible for 2 companies to “win” at the same time. If this is “losing”, Microsoft should lose more often, I’m sure they enjoy bringing in billions of dollars of revenue and profit year after year.

  32. There’s a great story from the book Freakonomics which describes the results of a study on medical malpractice suits. Interestingly, the most important determining factor for whether a maltreated patient would take a malpractice claim to court seems to be the rapport the patient had with the doctor, the doctor’s bedside manner, essentially. People don’t bring suits against doctors they like, even if they were mistreated badly, whereas they bring suits against doctors they hate, even if they were not treated badly at all.

    In reality Microsoft treats its customers about as well if not better than most of its competitors, and produces quality products at reasonable prices. Yet because of the public perception of Microsoft as a company and because of the way MS tends to come off as aloof, arrogant, and overly concerned with money and competition, Microsoft receives a lot of bad treatment it does not deserve, the perception and sales of Vista being a prime example.

    Also, I’ll respond to Andrew above and say that it’s a bit ridiculous to claim that the Xbox is now “losing” in the console market. The Nintendo Wii is selling more units, certainly, but in many cases the Wii and the 360 are not in direct competition, and the 360 and 360 games are selling enormously well. Not everything has to be a race to 100% market dominance, it’s possible for 2 companies to “win” at the same time. If this is “losing”, Microsoft should lose more often, I’m sure they enjoy bringing in billions of dollars of revenue and profit year after year.

  33. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at Zdnet has it spot on:

    No videos for all the people involved.
    No full transcripts for the people involved.
    The people involved didn’t actually get to use Vista. They got a demo.

    It’s slimey when you pretend to be being scientific in an “experiment”, but you’re actually just making a sales pitch.

    What does Apple do? Highlight it’s strengths, show Vista’s weaknesses in comparison. You can go into a store, pick a Mac, try it out. Get a demo on the spot. Ask a person next to you.

  34. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at Zdnet has it spot on:

    No videos for all the people involved.
    No full transcripts for the people involved.
    The people involved didn’t actually get to use Vista. They got a demo.

    It’s slimey when you pretend to be being scientific in an “experiment”, but you’re actually just making a sales pitch.

    What does Apple do? Highlight it’s strengths, show Vista’s weaknesses in comparison. You can go into a store, pick a Mac, try it out. Get a demo on the spot. Ask a person next to you.

  35. In my view Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and the others who have parsed this pitch have missed the point. The Mojave demo was not a “scientific” study, nor was it meant to be. It’s advertising. Analyzing all the ways in which this demo lacked sound methodology is like analyzing the scientific principles behind whether or not Skittles can really make a rainbow.

    Advertising is not aimed at getting to the truth of things. The purpose of advertising is to influence perceptions and buying decisions. Just because a commercial is presented in the form of an experiment, that does not somehow remove it from the overall purpose of advertising. Didn’t we all learn this by the 1940′s?

    My problem with this Mojave pitch is not that it lacks sufficient scientific rigor. Please. My problem is that it’s bad marketing. A lot of people have serious questions and/or problems with Microsoft’s product, and instead of addressing THAT with their marketing, they are instead trying to get away with telling their customers that they are all wrong.

    Even if Microsoft were right about this, and they aren’t, this would be really bad marketing. It’s based on arrogance (we know better), misdirection (only look at what we tell you), and a rather obvious deceit.

    This pitch is more for the benefit of Microsoft’s management than its customers. And when a company’s strategy is obviously more for its own benefit than its customers’ benefit, people will figure that out and react accordingly.

  36. In my view Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and the others who have parsed this pitch have missed the point. The Mojave demo was not a “scientific” study, nor was it meant to be. It’s advertising. Analyzing all the ways in which this demo lacked sound methodology is like analyzing the scientific principles behind whether or not Skittles can really make a rainbow.

    Advertising is not aimed at getting to the truth of things. The purpose of advertising is to influence perceptions and buying decisions. Just because a commercial is presented in the form of an experiment, that does not somehow remove it from the overall purpose of advertising. Didn’t we all learn this by the 1940′s?

    My problem with this Mojave pitch is not that it lacks sufficient scientific rigor. Please. My problem is that it’s bad marketing. A lot of people have serious questions and/or problems with Microsoft’s product, and instead of addressing THAT with their marketing, they are instead trying to get away with telling their customers that they are all wrong.

    Even if Microsoft were right about this, and they aren’t, this would be really bad marketing. It’s based on arrogance (we know better), misdirection (only look at what we tell you), and a rather obvious deceit.

    This pitch is more for the benefit of Microsoft’s management than its customers. And when a company’s strategy is obviously more for its own benefit than its customers’ benefit, people will figure that out and react accordingly.

  37. Robin correctly points out that the XBox 360 hardware and software has been tremendously successful, and displaced an entrenched competitor (Sony) who previously owned the space.

    Also, on the mobile front, Apple generates the PR and strong sales at the moment, but take a look at Windows Mobile sales. They are going up at a steep angle, outselling iPhone roughly 4:1 internationally.

    Windows Mobille 6.1 is, to be sure, attractive but relatively conventional; however, Windows Mobile 7 next year basically has similar look and feel as the iPhone, but Microsoft has much stronger relationships with the carriers. And I suspect is will run Exchange just as well as WM 6.1 does, namely without a hitch.

    So presently the iPhone is expanding into a vacuum; there’s nothing else like it on the market, but in a few months, there will be lots of more or less the same products from HTC, etc., running WM 7. While Nokia isn’t building WM7 phones presently, they did license Silverlight 2, so the UX can be quite rich.

    Basically the party for Apple may not last that long in the phone space.

  38. Robin correctly points out that the XBox 360 hardware and software has been tremendously successful, and displaced an entrenched competitor (Sony) who previously owned the space.

    Also, on the mobile front, Apple generates the PR and strong sales at the moment, but take a look at Windows Mobile sales. They are going up at a steep angle, outselling iPhone roughly 4:1 internationally.

    Windows Mobille 6.1 is, to be sure, attractive but relatively conventional; however, Windows Mobile 7 next year basically has similar look and feel as the iPhone, but Microsoft has much stronger relationships with the carriers. And I suspect is will run Exchange just as well as WM 6.1 does, namely without a hitch.

    So presently the iPhone is expanding into a vacuum; there’s nothing else like it on the market, but in a few months, there will be lots of more or less the same products from HTC, etc., running WM 7. While Nokia isn’t building WM7 phones presently, they did license Silverlight 2, so the UX can be quite rich.

    Basically the party for Apple may not last that long in the phone space.

  39. I’m not surprised by the demo and think it’s probably valid. I’m a long-time Mac user (since 1993, and currently have a black Macbook) who just bought a cheap Vista PC from HP (rather than going the Parallels-type route for certain programs). The truth is, Vista works fine for web, Outlook, iTunes, Picasa, RDP, and similar programs. Outlook can be a bit slow, and bootup drags a bit. I expect that if a PC program doesn’t work on Vista, then that is very frustrating — not been my experience, though. And while the warning dialog boxes that pop up are somewhat annoying, they aren’t that frequent. MacOSX definitely is prettier and a more pleasing interface, and has a lot of kewl apps; however, Vista works well and looks good, and the PC really is a good platform for getting certain types of work done efficiently, due to solid programs with good features and keyboard shortcuts, like Outlook or Picasa. (I would make a similar argument that the Blackberry is a more productive, reliable tool for getting things done quickly than the iPhone — people right now are distracted by the Apps and 3G, but having owned an iPhone for a year and a BBerry for a few years, there is no contest — the BBerry works, and the iPhone is prettier but slower and prone to hang/crash and lacks power-user features). Just my opinion.

  40. I’m not surprised by the demo and think it’s probably valid. I’m a long-time Mac user (since 1993, and currently have a black Macbook) who just bought a cheap Vista PC from HP (rather than going the Parallels-type route for certain programs). The truth is, Vista works fine for web, Outlook, iTunes, Picasa, RDP, and similar programs. Outlook can be a bit slow, and bootup drags a bit. I expect that if a PC program doesn’t work on Vista, then that is very frustrating — not been my experience, though. And while the warning dialog boxes that pop up are somewhat annoying, they aren’t that frequent. MacOSX definitely is prettier and a more pleasing interface, and has a lot of kewl apps; however, Vista works well and looks good, and the PC really is a good platform for getting certain types of work done efficiently, due to solid programs with good features and keyboard shortcuts, like Outlook or Picasa. (I would make a similar argument that the Blackberry is a more productive, reliable tool for getting things done quickly than the iPhone — people right now are distracted by the Apps and 3G, but having owned an iPhone for a year and a BBerry for a few years, there is no contest — the BBerry works, and the iPhone is prettier but slower and prone to hang/crash and lacks power-user features). Just my opinion.

  41. (with apologies in advance to female readers for the sexism)

    Isn’t the Mojave Experiment a bit like inviting a guy to experience a breakthrough in oral sex pleasure while blindfolded, bring him to orgasm, and then reveal that it was Linda Tripp all along?

  42. (with apologies in advance to female readers for the sexism)

    Isn’t the Mojave Experiment a bit like inviting a guy to experience a breakthrough in oral sex pleasure while blindfolded, bring him to orgasm, and then reveal that it was Linda Tripp all along?

  43. Funny thing Robert – you asked about which computer would you return? Well, I just did some deep thinking about why I love my MacBook so much (I use several PC and Mac laptops) – you might be interested in reading it at: http://www.crittix.com/2008/08/04/why-apple-make-the-best-laptops/

    …and I agree with most of the other people here – this was inane at best, although I do understand the point that a lot of people are trashing Vista without even trying it. I tried it (and am using it) and don’t think it is anywhere near as clean and functional as Mac OSX, although it’s growing on me slowly…..like a fungus! :-)

  44. Funny thing Robert – you asked about which computer would you return? Well, I just did some deep thinking about why I love my MacBook so much (I use several PC and Mac laptops) – you might be interested in reading it at: http://www.crittix.com/2008/08/04/why-apple-make-the-best-laptops/

    …and I agree with most of the other people here – this was inane at best, although I do understand the point that a lot of people are trashing Vista without even trying it. I tried it (and am using it) and don’t think it is anywhere near as clean and functional as Mac OSX, although it’s growing on me slowly…..like a fungus! :-)

  45. The fact that Ballmer believes Vista’s problems relate to marketing indicates how ultimately doomed the organization is. Apple spent years and billions upgrading their already cool OS (I’d take Mac OS 9 over XP anyday, but I’d NEVER contemplate going back from OS X to OS9), and, by golly, they did a good job. MSFT hasn’t even made the transition to UNIX yet. They aren’t even out of the starting gate. They think they can coast on monopoly power forever. Same error Ford and GM continue to make.

  46. The fact that Ballmer believes Vista’s problems relate to marketing indicates how ultimately doomed the organization is. Apple spent years and billions upgrading their already cool OS (I’d take Mac OS 9 over XP anyday, but I’d NEVER contemplate going back from OS X to OS9), and, by golly, they did a good job. MSFT hasn’t even made the transition to UNIX yet. They aren’t even out of the starting gate. They think they can coast on monopoly power forever. Same error Ford and GM continue to make.

  47. In my view, Apple has been brilliant at creating an experience with their machines. Whether it be the computer or the iPhone, both produce deep experiences with the consumer that keep them wanting to interact.

    “people remember experiences, not features or attributes” – a.g. lafley

    What a great quote. I am a PC user and have been for a long time. I purchased an iPhone and must say that the “experience” is something that is tangible and meaningful. I was willing to switch my network provider, and all of the features of my Palm Treo to get the experience of the iPhone.

    What I am finding is that people are willing to deal with less features for an experience if that experience leads to a community. The Mac followers are a community. The PC people (me included) are isolated from each other for the most part.

  48. In my view, Apple has been brilliant at creating an experience with their machines. Whether it be the computer or the iPhone, both produce deep experiences with the consumer that keep them wanting to interact.

    “people remember experiences, not features or attributes” – a.g. lafley

    What a great quote. I am a PC user and have been for a long time. I purchased an iPhone and must say that the “experience” is something that is tangible and meaningful. I was willing to switch my network provider, and all of the features of my Palm Treo to get the experience of the iPhone.

    What I am finding is that people are willing to deal with less features for an experience if that experience leads to a community. The Mac followers are a community. The PC people (me included) are isolated from each other for the most part.

  49. Microsoft now has to do its marketing by duping its customers? Reminds me of those Office commercials where they implied their existing users of older Office suites were dinosaurs.

    It’s amazing in how many areas Microsoft are losing. MP3 players, Xbox, web search, mobile phone OS etc. etc. It’ll be interesting to see if Ballmer can deliver on his promise to improve the end-to-end experience of Microsoft’s products by working more closely with hardware vendors.

  50. Microsoft now has to do its marketing by duping its customers? Reminds me of those Office commercials where they implied their existing users of older Office suites were dinosaurs.

    It’s amazing in how many areas Microsoft are losing. MP3 players, Xbox, web search, mobile phone OS etc. etc. It’ll be interesting to see if Ballmer can deliver on his promise to improve the end-to-end experience of Microsoft’s products by working more closely with hardware vendors.